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Ensuring Business Continuity with DRaaS

Ensuring Business Continuity with DRaaS
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by Sanjeev Kapoor 24 Jun 2016

Disasters are a reality of life; hence it becomes imperative for mid-tier or large companies to keep these disasters at bay through humanly possible ways. In one of our previous posts this was the central point of discussion where we endeavored to guide you through such calamities with preventive measures to make your business disaster proof. However, there is a limit to avoid or avert unwanted events.

Despite the best of steps taken, none has control over acts of God or human malice or even technical breakdowns beyond a certain point. Hence the focus should be on ensuring business continuity during the disasters as the ability to ensure business continuity is what determines the fate of a business in today’s world.

For business continuity, it is advisable for SMBs to bet big on ‘Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service’ (DRaaS) solutions. DRaaS helps in quick recovery and uninterrupted business operations even in adverse situations – either caused by natural fury or technical failures.

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While DRaaS refers to data backup, recovery and retrieval – which are essential to help an organization to wade through the rough waters, it involves other pieces to be in place too.

The Preferred Way

The DRaaS offerings have become a preferred way for SMBs because of their capabilities to bring the compute resources of a business to where their backup data resides (either on the appliance or cloud). It means that a business can virtualize and spin up applications in minutes during the disasters.

Market research firm MarketandMarkets‘s study also reports the way SMBs are embracing DRaaS globally. According to its data, the DRaaS market is estimated to grow from $1.42 billion in 2015 to $11.92 billion in 2020, at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 52.9% from 2015 to 2020.
If scrutinized closely, the numbers are mind-boggling and demonstrate how organizations are in a race to secure their future through the use of DRaaS solutions. None of them want to be in a situation where their business stays paralyzed in an adverse situation.

DRaaS and Business Continuity Planning

After an act of God or a major technical breakdown, there is pressure to resume the revenue-generating operations. Unfortunately, most organizations, irrespective of their size, fail on this front in the absence of a good disaster recovery (DR) plan. Traditional DR plans, which are bound to take a lot of time, prove ineffective in such situations.

That’s where business continuity planning comes into play. In order to draw a sound business continuity plan, CIOs need to pay heed to the following questions while embracing DRaaS solutions:

• Where will employees physically work after the damage to their office or workspace is done? Will the displaced employees have a computer to use and be able to reconnect to the corporate network?

• How will a company process payroll, write checks, pay its bills or maintain supply chain communications following an unplanned outage?

• How will a company manage the ire of its customers by ensuring immediate restoration of business operations?

These questions are a key to any company’s business continuity plan because restoring user, server and application data is certainly the first and foremost step following a downtime event. At the same time, it is important to understand that business continuity means full functioning and is not limited to just recovering company data.

Hence CIOs are advised to choose a DRaaS offering that addresses most, if not all of the above concerns.

DRaaS and Elastic Provisioning

Businesses which are in the growing phase have another advantage i.e. of scaling up and scaling down their DRaaS requirements. They can offer continued services to their customers whether their business is on the rise or facing growth challenges. This is possible because DRaaS offerings come with elastic provisioning.

Most DRaaS providers allow you to easily expand or contract your DR platform as required. DRaaS providers offer organizations DR availability that can expand or contract as a company’s computing and network resources change, which for most small businesses is a regular occurrence.

To fend off any doubts pertaining to the elastic provisioning, CIOs may check how flexible their DRaaS provider is for expanding and contracting the DR coverage when needed. This should ideally be done before signing an agreement so that any unpleasant surprises could be avoided.

Because of the elastic provisioning option, DRaaS is recommended to all kinds of businesses. According to the, the elastic provisioning will yield desired results if the DRaaS provider is able to address the following issues:

Support for multi-homed redundancy: In some cases, to ensure a 100% rate of business continuity, two or more fully redundant technology deployments need to be considered. CIOs need to ask their service providers about this possibility.

Support for multi-homed architecture: This is preferred since in most businesses there are multiple technology stacks which are split across several physical sites. Any DRaaS solution needs to support this kind of multi-homed architecture into a single cloud based disaster recovery platform.

Failover process: CIOs need to check if the contract and SLA with the DRaaS vendor specifies time or transaction limits. They need to know how the handover from disaster recovery state, to normal operation is handled.

Does it actually work? Before choosing a DRaaS vendor it is advised to do a thorough research of each vendor, reach out to their existing clientele for reviews and only then choose a service provider. CIOs need to know if the DRaaS vendor can actually deliver on his promises before making such a commitment.

Turning Odds into Opportunities

As discussed in the beginning, it is inevitable to avoid disasters beyond a certain point. But if an organization has a business continuity plan backed with a good DRaaS solution, it can turn odds into opportunities.

A robust DRaaS solution will not only protect and retrieve its business critical data but also help in restoring the entire business process in the minimum possible time. Especially in the case of natural disasters most affected businesses are unable to keep their operations afloat in the absence of a good DRaaS solution. That is the time when a business which has deployed a robust DRaaS solution, can have an edge over the competitors. Its reputation among customers will automatically grow. In simple words, this way, odds can turn into opportunities.

In short, the decision to use DRaaS – to strengthen your company’s future from uncalled-for disasters– will demonstrate the farsightedness and long term strategy of your business. Business continuity plan works well if it is backed by a good DRaaS solution significantly bringing down recovery time, costs and complexities.

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